3. The Doll of “Brand”

In former times, a wealthy widow was the owner of the restaurant “Gasthof zum Erbgericht ” in Brand. She devoted all her love to her seven-year-old daughter. As a special Christmas present, the widow bought her daughter a life-sized doll.
But the daughter was not happy about the gift and did not play with this doll even in the days after Christmas.
Suddenly the girl fell ill with scarlet fever and died before the end of the Twelve Nights.
The mother was desperately sad about this. As a substitute for her daughter, she took the doll, dressed it with the clothes she had, sat it next to her at the table, served the doll food and drink and talked to it as she used to talk to her daughter. A maid had to undress and dress the doll every day and put it to bed every night.
And suddenly the mother died. Strange rumours about her death arose and were told in town.
Shortly after the mother‘s funeral, the doll came to life. She got up at night, looked for her clothes and ran around the house, so that the inhabitants of the house did not dare to walk down the corridors. When there was a dance at the weekend, the doll would scamper after the boys and trail the girls. Gradually, the townspeople got used to this phenomenon.
But one day the new landlord wanted to put an end to this spook. He asked an old woman who lived in a half-ruined house in the nearby village of “St. Michael‘s ” to break the doll‘s spell. She spoke incantations, but the doll became all the more alive. A short time later, the old woman mysteriously died as well.
The innkeeper then turned to the local priest in the village of “Erbisdorf ” to ask him to break the doll‘s spell. But even after the priest had conjured it with Latin prayers, the doll continued to dance mockingly through the town.
Finally, a day labourer was commissioned to take the doll on a wheelbarrow to the “Spitalwald ”, a nearby forest, and bury it. During a thunderstorm, the day labourer buried the doll under a birch tree. But on the way home, the doll overtook him once again. The day labourer, terribly frightened, caught a fever and died after three days.
Since then, not much has been heard of the ghostly doll. However, when the “Erbgericht ” was being rebuilt, the builders claimed to have seen a doll jumping around on the half-complete walls, very much alive.